Some people choose surgery and medications to ease the symptoms of pelvic floor problems. The problem with these risky treatments is that they do not strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and therefore usually cannot provide lasting results.
With pelvic floor physical therapy, you will practice exercises to strengthen and control your pelvic floor muscles so that you can enjoy permanent relief.
Essentially, this theory works on pelvic floor muscle groups which are responsible for performing a range of functions like supporting the pelvic organs, bowel and bladder control, and also help you in sexual arousal and orgasm.
Most often, the importance of these muscles is overlooked, this is why it makes sense to ensure that they are properly strengthened.
Here’s a quick video explaining and showing how the pelvic floor muscle can affect your function:
What is a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist?
A pelvic floor physical therapist is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy who specializes in pelvic floor conditions.
Pelvic floor physical therapists have advanced training in the management and treatment of pelvic floor disorders, such as incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain, prenatal & postpartum issues.
A pelvic floor physical therapist’s primary goal is to help patients overcome pelvic floor problems and feel in control of their lives again.
Why So Many Adults are Choosing Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Pelvic floor physical therapy is an increasingly popular treatment choice among adults suffering from pelvic floor problems.
Men and women are choosing pelvic floor physical therapy because other treatments were unsuccessful or because they wish to avoid the complications and side effects of surgery and medications.
This is when a pelvic floor therapist helps you make the right diagnosis of your pain and symptoms. They adopt a non-invasive approach based no natural treatment to help you.
More people, including healthcare professionals, are considering pelvic floor physical therapy as a first-line treatment for pelvic floor disorders. This is because pelvic floor therapy is a natural and safe way to treat pelvic floor disorders.
The Most Common Pelvic Floor Conditions & Symptoms
Pelvic floor physical therapists treat a wide range of pelvic floor conditions. Common conditions that a pelvic floor physical therapist treats include:
Condition #1: Diastasis Recti
This condition most commonly affects women during and after pregnancy but can also affect men and newborn babies. In diastasis recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles creates a wrinkled-looking appearance in the middle or lower portion of your belly that often comes with other unpleasant symptoms.
Diastasis recti in pregnant or postpartum women are usually the result of the uterus stretching your abdominal muscles during pregnancy.
Diastasis recti can also result from excessive abdominal exercises, exercises performed with incorrect posture, weightlifting with improper form, and rapid fluctuations in weight (such as quickly losing a large amount of belly fat).
Symptoms of Diastasis Recti
- A loose-looking bulge or wrinkled-like skin in the middle or lower portion of the belly
- lower back pain
Condition #2: Pelvic Pain
This is a general term used to describe any type of pain in the pelvic region, below the belly button. Pelvic pain can arise from a variety of causes such as menstruation, bladder problems, and appendicitis.
Pelvic pain may also include sacral pain, which can cause pain in the lower back and pelvic region, particularly during intercourse.
Tight muscles in the pelvic floor are typically responsible for pain during intercourse. A pelvic floor physical therapist will help you loosen tight muscles, identify other factors that are causing your pelvic floor condition, and provide you with the best treatments to diminish your pain.
Condition #3: Postpartum Troubles
This is another general term used to describe a variety of postpartum issues that can cause pain or uncomfortable symptoms in the pelvic region.
Some of the most common postpartum conditions that can cause pelvic pain and symptoms include lower back pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction (where the joints that connect the sacrum to pelvis do not move correctly), and hyper mobility syndrome (where joints are more flexible than normal).
Condition #4: Urinary & Fecal Incontinence
Weakened muscles or muscle and nerve damage in the pelvic region can sometimes cause urinary and fecal incontinence. Urinary and fecal incontinence is often the result of trauma to the muscles and nerves.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is a condition in which urine is involuntarily excreted due to a lack of control over the urinary sphincter (the two muscles that control the exit of urine). Symptoms may include:
- Sudden urge to urinate that results in unintentional urination before reaching a restroom
- Urine leakage when placing stress on the bladder such as when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising
- An inability to fully empty the bladder, which may result in constant dripping of urine
- Sporadic leakages of large amounts of urine
Symptoms of Fecal Incontinence
Fecal incontinence is a condition in which fecal matter is involuntarily excreted. This condition is most commonly caused by damage to the nerves, pelvic muscles, rectum, and the annal sphincters (the muscles around the anus that control the exit of stool). Symptoms may include:
- Sudden urge to defecate that results in unintentional defecation before reaching a restroom
- Stool leakage when placing stress on the bowels such as when exercising
- Accidentally defecating resulting from a lack of awareness related to the need or urge to defecate
If you identify with any of the above conditions and/or symptoms, consider contacting a pelvic floor physical therapist. A pelvic floor physical therapist may help you gain control over your urinary sphincter or anal sphincters through targeted exercises.
Condition #5: Prolapsed Bladder
A prolapsed bladder is a condition native to women developed when the supporting tissue between the bladder and vaginal wall weakens and stretches to bulge into the vagina. Because the pelvic floor muscles are what help support your bladder and if weakness is not addressed, your bladder is likely to fall out.
Which Techniques do Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists Use to Treat Patients?
Pelvic floor physical therapists create treatment plans that are unique to each patient’s specific needs, condition, and lifestyle. Here are some of the most common techniques that pelvic floor physical therapists use to treat patients:
Activity Modification & Patient Education
A pelvic floor physical therapist will educate patients about pelvic floor anatomy and function. Patients will learn how to modify specific activities so that they have more control over their symptoms.
Biofeedback is a technique that uses a specialized tool to monitor a patient’s muscle contractions in the pelvic region. This tool helps patients learn how to perform pelvic floor contractions and strengthening exercises correctly.
The pelvic floor physical therapist and the patient can see the biofeedback tool’s results on a computer screen. This means that the pelvic floor physical therapist can properly guide the patient through pelvic floor exercises.
Patients who learn how to perform pelvic floor exercises correctly with the biofeedback tool can perform these exercises at home with more confidence.
When the joints in your pelvic region are stiff and cannot go through their full ranges of motion, you can feel pain and decreased ability to contract the muscles in the pelvic floor.
You will perform joint mobilization exercises to help loosen the joints and ease the symptoms. Your pelvic floor physical therapist may also mobilize the joints manually, which can speed up the joint mobilization process.
Relocation, Stretching, & Myofascial Release
This treatment combination helps relocate pelvic floor muscles to improve their function. Your pelvic floor physical therapist will guide you through stretching exercises where you will practice special breathing techniques to further decrease tightness.
Your pelvic floor physical therapist may use a manual massage technique called myofascial release to break up tight muscle tissue. This, in combination with the stretching and breathing, will assist in relocating the pelvic floor muscles.
Weak pelvic floor and core muscles are a common cause of many pelvic floor disorders.
Your pelvic floor physical therapist will guide you through exercises that are specifically designed to strengthen the weak muscles in your pelvic floor and core. A pelvic floor physical therapist can usually find which muscles need strengthening from testing done in the initial appointment.
Taping will quicken the rehabilitation process by improving muscle functioning and supporting weak or injured muscles. Your pelvic floor physical therapist will know exactly where to apply the tape for maximum benefits.
Your pelvic floor physical therapist can also teach you how to apply the tape yourself so that you can apply tape at home.
How Can Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Change Your Life?
Your pelvic floor physical therapist will work with you one-on-one to analyze your symptoms and discuss your goals.
While other doctors focus on treating only the symptoms, your pelvic floor physical therapist will run tests to determine the underlying cause. Typically, pelvic floor problems result from pelvic floor muscles that are either too weak or too tight.
When the underlying cause is determined and treated, you can rest assured that there is a much smaller risk of your symptoms returning compared to other popular treatments for pelvic floor disorders.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help you enjoy life to its fullest – without the worry of accidents or pain related to pelvic floor disorders.
The Quickest & Easiest Way to Get Started
A referral isn’t needed to see a pelvic floor physical therapist – meaning that scheduling an appointment is as easy as contacting the office directly!
Our talented team of licensed pelvic floor physical therapists at Back in Motion Sport and Spine Physical Therapy has helped many patients say goodbye to their pelvic floor problems.
Click here or call 239-223-0484 to get started with pelvic floor physical therapy that will change your life!